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BOOK REVIEW: On China By Henry Kissinger

(No Chinese feathers were ruffled during the making of this book)

Published in Daily Times / Saturday, July 23, 2011
Published Under the Title: The new Peking order
Reviewed by Afrah Jamal

July 1971 is an eventful month for Nixon’s National Security Advisor (at the time referred to as a Secretary of State in everything but the title). He disappears from Pakistan, resurfacing in Peking and no one is the wiser. He manages to keep at least one of the two secret servicemen in the dark about the (earth-shattering) nature of his whirlwind trip. The secret mission to China, undertaken at Nixon’s behest, marks the beginning of a beautiful (!) “period of strategic cooperation” that has somehow passed numerous stress tests, withstood serious setbacks (Tiananmen Square) and seemingly insurmountable obstacles (Taiwan).

Archived issues of TIME magazine reveal that this former Secretary of State (1973-1977) was once hailed as “the American magician” by the Egyptians and labelled a “superstar” by B…

BOOK REVIEW: The Wandering Falcon / Author: Jamil Ahmad

Thanks to Liberty Books for the review copy

First Published in Daily Times / Saturday, July 02, 2011

Republished by ChowkYadgar

Reviewed by Afrah Jamal

Jamil Ahmad’s debut novel is ostensibly about a boy and a stretch of land. At first glance, there is nothing special about Tor Baz. Is he the hero? He seems strangely absent from a major part of the narrative, so not a hero in the traditional sense of the word. If this is a coming of age story, the star billing must go to a land that has become a near permanent fixture on the western world’s radar.

Written sometime in the early 1970s and published in 2008, The Wandering Falcon is a fictional piece of work that charts a slow meandering course through the lawless frontiers. Undercurrents of danger have always coursed through its veins but recent events have bestowed a more menacing look and feel to the wild west of Pakistan.

Jamil Ahmad has a special insight into the ways of the tribes. As a Pakistani civil servant, he has served in Khyber…